Here’s a tip for those of you who cannot get enough chocolate: quickly roasting cocoa powder results in an even richer and more complex final product. As the cocoa powder roasts, it turns a lovely dark brown. It becomes more aromatic, with bittersweet notes, not unlike that of a good, dark coffee or of a golden, deep caramel. And a little bit of it will go a long way, be it in your hot drink or baked goods.
On the left is the roasted cocoa powder. Note the difference in color.
For this recipe, we needed other elements that could stand up to the intensity of the chocolate. We felt that both toasted black sesame and brown rice flour would be able to add their own different kind of roasty flavors. The cake is a little dense and more than a little fudgy, and the ganache-filled centers are a promise of gooey, chocolate goodness.
(Bonus: Our old friend Chocnut once again makes an appearance in this recipe. Just seven pieces, crumbled and mixed into the ganache, and you’ve got a great nutty taste that works so very well with the rice and sesame flavors. It’s optional, of course. If you preferred a straight forward chocolate ganache, skip this step. We’ve heard that not everyone likes Chocnut – it is mind boggling, but we suppose the world is a big enough place for all.)
For the cake:
8 tbsp roasted unsweetened, Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 cup / 240ml boiling water
1 cup / 240ml coconut oil
1/2 cup / 120g white granulated sugar
1/2 cup / 120g brown sugar
6 large eggs
1/2 cup / 70g brown rice flour
1/4 cup / 22g dessicated coconut
2 tbsp toasted black sesame seeds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
For the chocolate ganache:
1 cup / 240ml heavy cream
100g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
7 pieces of Chocnut
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
Roast your cocoa powder. Preheat the oven to 176°C/350°F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Spread the cocoa on the tray in a layer. Bake for 15-20 minutes until it turns a deep, dark brown. Check every 5 minutes, to stir if necessary to avoid burning or clumping. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Make your ganache ahead of time. Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes and stir. Microwave for another 1 minute or until chocolate is completely melted. Stir with a spatula until even-colored and smooth. Chill for at least 20 minutes or until cool and slightly thickened. It should be a little closer to a spreadable consistency.
Make your cakes. Preheat oven to 176°C/350°F. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake wrappers/liners.
Blend the dessicated coconut in a blender, food processor or coffee grinder until you have a fine flour-like consistency. Combine with brown rice flour, toasted sesame seeds, salt and spices. Set aside.
Sift roasted cocoa powder into a bowl. Whisk in boiling water. Stir until mixture is thick and smooth. Whisk in vanilla extract. Set aside to let cool.
Beat the eggs with a handheld mixer (set to medium speed) 6 to 7 minutes with or until thick and light. Gradually add coconut oil and sugar. Beat for another 2 to 3 minutes. Mixture should have doubled in volume and should form ribbons when mixer is lifted.
Set mixer to low speed. Mix in your chocolate mixture into the whipped eggs until evenly combined. Gradually add rice flour and coconut mixture. Use a spatula to fold the coconut into the batter. Scrape down sides of bowl if necessary.
Fill each muffin cup halfway. Place a teaspoon of ganache in the center. Fill completely. Bake each batch for 20-25 minutes or until sides of cake are set but the center is still slightly damp. Cool on the wire rack.
Have some cakes. Pour some more ganache on top, sprinkle with a little more sesame.